How Did This Happen?


Times certainly have changed. My rotation of mostly black pens has been invaded by demos sporting jewel toned inks. How did this happen?

The term demo or demonstrator comes from pens with clear barrels that were used years ago to reveal or demonstrate the inner workings of a fountain pen. Stores might have had a few, but not customers. In the past ten years or so, clear pens have become available from a few manufacturers and have caught the fancy of many collectors.

I used to avoid demos thinking the potential for stains would make them high maintenance and only good with low maintenance inks. While that may hold true for some pens, those in my collection tolerate a variety of inks and have shown no signs of staining with normal pen hygiene.

The Lamy Vistas don’t get much use due to inconsistent flow so they are semi-retired. But thanks to the generosity of Luxury Brands USA, a Platinum Nice M (pink gold), a Nice Pur B (rhodium), and a Noodler’s Ahab Flex have nudged aside more mundane black pens. With three grades of nibs, I hardly need anything else. Well, except for the Platinum #3776 music nib. When I want a bold line, nothing is quite as sweet.

Seeing colorful ink at a glance is a gentle reminder of what’s in store when a pen is put to use. The Nice is inked with Waterman South Sea Blue and the Ahab is inked with Noodler’s Apache Sunset. The Pur is awaiting a fill. What do you think would be luscious from that broad nib pen?

Demos haven’t overwhelmed my rotation so far, but the more somber black pens aren’t happy to be displaced. Do you suppose they will be exceptionally well-behaved to maintain their dominance? Now wouldn’t that be a nice turn of events.

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